First off, how are you and how have you been coping in 2020?
I’m not going to lie, this year is shit. Pretending it’s been character-building feels like a betrayal of the people who’ve been really badly let down by our leaders this year. On a personal level, my dad got sick, my wedding had to be postponed and the government scrapped plans to reform the Gender Recognition Act. This has not been my favourite year.
Can you tell us about your latest novel Wonderland?
I can! It’s a radical retelling of Alice in Wonderland where Wonderland is an exclusive, elite festival – sort of like Coachella. Alice goes there in search of her crush, a girl called Bunny and has all sorts of debauched adventures along the way. Perfect if you liked Euphoria or Gossip Girl.
You have an incredible body of works, what is the process like for writing a new book?
I spend a little time ‘dipping my toe’ with a new novel. It’s like dating. You have to get a feel for the characters and decide if you want to commit to them.
What do you like most about writing YA fiction?
I like that it’s a transformative time. That’s what my novels have in common – the characters undergo some form of evolution and end a different person than they started. I’m also a fan of the high school movie – from Heathers to Clueless to Buffy.
You’re a huge advocate for the LGBTQ+ community, do you have any recommendations for people who would like more books with LGBTQ+ characters?
The Miseducation of Cameron Post is beautifully written and pretty much anything by David Levithan – Every Day and Two Boys Kissing are my favourites. However, if you haven’t read Armistead Maupin’s Tales of the City series, you have such a treat in store. They’re the ultimate novels about finding your own family and place in the world.
What are you currently working on?
I can’t really say too much – but I have a new novel on the go and a bunch of TV projects.
What are your top tips for switching off and relaxing?
Don’t take your phone or laptop into the bedroom!
What is the best thing you’ve read this year?
What are some of your all-time favourite reads?
What does your perfect weekend look like?
Seeing friends for brunch, some shopping or a long walk with my chihuahua. Then dinner and cocktails or a movie with my partner Max.
What do you always carry with you?
Tinted Vaseline, Imodium (I have IBS!), and whatever I’m reading.
What would your last ever meal be?
Oooh like really beautiful Japanese food: gyoza and tempura and curry.
What is one positive piece of advice you could give to our audience?
Always buy a kingsize mattress, even if you have a double bed.